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Orlando City vs. Atlanta United: Five Takeaways

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What did we learn from the Lions’ trip to their closest MLS rival?

MLS: Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City traveled its shortest road trip distance for an away game to face Atlanta United. The result was certainly not what any of us wanted, or expected, but what did we learn from this most recent trip to Georgia?

A Change is Needed

Bobby Murphy has been at the helm of this ship for about 16 days now. James O’Connor is on his way and I do not envy him. Something is desperately needed to shake things up with this squad. I appreciate Murphy trying the 3-4-3, and working with the players to shake things up, but the play on the pitch shows that something even more drastic is needed. Justin Meram, who was given three days off from the club for personal reasons, may or may not have been able to make an impact in the match. Did his temporary release affect any of the players remaining?

The Attack is Lacking

Dom Dwyer had zero shots last night. You read that correctly folks, Dom Dwyer had zero shots last night. In fact, the front three of Chris Meuller, Dom Dwyer, and Sacha Kljestan had a total of two shots combined. Uri Rosell had three shots on goal, and Amro Tarek had three shots on goal. The Lions will continue to have issues if the defensive midfielders and center backs are taking the majority of the shots on goal.

Formation Needs Balance as Well

Last night, the majority of possession for the Lions was pushed up the left side. Mueller, Tarek, Mohamed El-Munir, and Rosell held most of the Lions’ possession. That possession was only 39%. It could also have been a function of the tactical shape the club utilized, and the image below speaks volumes.

Average Player Position as tracked by WhoScored.com

Can anyone pick out the 3-4-3 formation based on this average position map? This map leads me to feel that Scott Sutter and Jonathan Spector were left out on an island to fend for themselves.

Chris Mueller is a Big Deal

The young Lion continues to impress in so many ways. He wears his heart on his sleeve at all times and lets you know it. He is still young, at only 21 years of age, and needs a bit more time to develop, but it is obvious that he is going to develop into a very good player. Last night, he was possibly the best player for the Lions on the pitch. I certainly hope the incoming coaching staff does their homework on Mueller, and can mold him into the player that we see him becoming.

Possession is Everything

And that is the one thing that the Lions could not hold onto last night. The team has seemingly found itself comfortable playing the back and forth, the triangle type of short passing game as it works its way forward into the attacking third, or until a run can be made up the wing. A big problem last night was the extremely large number of short passes that went to no one, or right to an opposing player. There also appears to be a lack of drive to go to the ball, as many times it looked as though the players were just standing still waiting for it to come to them.


Another tough loss for the Lions, and the last match at the helm for Bobby Murphy as Coach O’Connor should be joining the club this week. He has a big task in front of him: a club on an eight-match losing skid, a fan base that has already grabbed the torches and pitchforks and is marching towards the horizon, and a group of players that need change, motivation, and leadership. If I missed something, please add your thoughts to the comment section.